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News & Views

  • 2 March 2016
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Why Young Britons Want Friendlier Brands

Digital media has prompted brands to adopt a friendlier style to communication. Now it seems young people want brands to not only say things in friendlier ways but behave like their best friends, and do all the things that best friends do in their lives.

But if a brand is going to act like a best friend, it needs to become more human, and understand people better. It needs to build and sustain genuine relationships. Doing so isn’t easy though.

The Human Project is a global research study and strategic methodology from Zeno Group that connects brands and organisations with people. In 2016, it has been extended to provide an intimate portrait of global youth and young millennials in the UK, with the study findings revealed today.

While brands face challenges in forging more human connections with all of their audiences, these are a generation of men and women who wield powerful influence and are vastly different than those that have gone before them.

We’ve looked in detail at people aged 14 to 24 – not just at their attitudes, but at their values and beliefs. In a fast-changing world, young Britons in this age bracket are growing up and forging their careers amidst headlines around the rise of ISIS, the prospect of a UK exit from the European Union and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Given the scale and pace of change, the values and the expectations of brands that this generation has are somewhat surprising. Born on the web in many ways, they may worry about economic prospects but equality, loyalty and a strong sense of purpose are central to their lives and the role they play in their families.

The Human Project also provides a lens into the values and beliefs of this generation in other countries: the US, India, Australia, India, and Canada. While there is much common ground, there are some subtle differences around how young people in the UK see personal health issues, the nature of leadership and the role technology plays for them. There are some surprising findings, like young people in the UK being less concerned with their personal health than any other country studied.

The Human Project is now a central component of how 3 Monkeys | Zeno develops insights, plans communications campaigns and drives engagement for clients. While we focused on 14 to 24-year-olds for this research, we take the same value-based approach to better understanding people across all generations.

As brands continue to adapt to an ever-changing world, expect the need to get humans and be human to rise fast up the brand communications priority list.